South Africa once again
shone at the World Transplant Games, this year's version
having being held in Malaga, Spain.
At 51 members, the team took
on far bigger teams than themselves, but still managed
to finish third overall with 76 medals.
Of those medals, 35 were gold, 23 silver and 18 bronze
The World Transplant Games are held every second year
and brings thousands of transplantees together on the
sporting field to celebrate the second chance they
received after a life-saving solid organ transplant.
This year, 2 200 athletes from across the world competed
in a variety of sporting codes that included athletics,
road running, petanque, tennis, squash, swimming,
cycling, golf, badminton, ten pin bowling and table
Among the highlights for the SA team were winning the
awards for most outstanding senior and junior female.
These went to Lisa du Plessis in the senior ladies
category, who won five gold medals and set five new
world records in various swimming events.
The junior ladies category was won by Kristen Henry.
She won five gold medals, achieved two world records in
the swimming events, and collected a bronze as part of
the South African women's 4x100m relay team.
The team went to Spain with a clear objective: finish in
the top 10 and ensure that the message of organ donation
is spread far and wide. In order to secure a top 10
finish, all athletes had to qualify twice for the World
The first qualification opportunity was at the South
African Transplant Games in 2016 that took place in
Johannesburg. Athletes then had to qualify again before
the start of the World Transplant Games. This
qualification process and a training camp before the
World Transplant Games ensured that South Africa sent
the best possible team to the Spain.
The Transplant Games are unique, in the sense that all
athletes have received a life-saving organ transplant.
Although most athletes are in top form and fit, there is
always the possibility that a medical emergency can
occur due to the nature of some athlete's conditions. ¡V